12.10.2007

Ride it if you can, Redux

The first time I ever snowboarded at Mad River Glen was in the early 1990s, after a ripping December noreaster clobbered the mountain with snow. We boot packed up through a couple feet of fresh, making brutally slow time but enjoying the way up and making sure to be very, very safe along the way. We didn't start until after lunch, and at that time of year, the Green Mountains get dark at about the same time the kids get out of school, so by the time we hit our stride at the Single Chair midstation it was twilight.

We stopped and rapped with a number of skiers there. We talked snow and we talked turns and we all smiled. We might have even shared some holiday cheer. I can't remember.

The fact that Mad River Glen doesn't allow boarders on the chairlift was hardly a reflection of the attitude of the skiers on the mountain that day. Anybody willing to hike up seemed welcome, whether they were on boards or skis or pogo sticks or scuba flippers. Since then, I've hiked and boarded MRG a number of times either pre- or post-season. And I've enjoyed the experience every time.

I finally moved to Vermont a few years ago, and at the time I used to get my own panties in a bunch about the lack of "legal" riding at MRG. And then, I got over it. If it were a clear cut violation of National Forest regulations as some argue, (See the comment on "Sabotage Stupidity below) I just assume that one of Burton's eight hundred lawyers would've figured that out by now and things would've changed. My guess is that it isn't so simple.

So I never bought a coop share, and I spend most of my days at Sugarbush ... a damn fine mountain in it's own right. And one that welcomes riders with open arms.

The irony is that if the conflict between Burton and MRG was ever resolved, it would diminish them both. As it stands now, MRG continues to get an international boost to their marketing program (courtesty of Jake), while Burton gets to re-establish their street cred as the brand that's fighting for Joe Rider.

Don't get me wrong: I do enjoy the terrain at MRG, I like the company of the people that ski there, and I'd love to ride MRG on a big dump Wednesday in February. But I've got my options .... like skiing ... and apparently, they've got their reasons.

Besides, I'm over it.

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